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College Football
Preview
Cincinnati vs North Carolina
When: 3:20 PM ET, Saturday, December 28, 2013
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina


BELK BOWL STORYLINES

1. North Carolina won five of its final six games to become bowl eligible after starting 1-5 and was rewarded with its fourth trip to the Belk Bowl on Dec. 28 in Charlotte, N.C., where it will meet Cincinnati. The Tar Heels became only the sixth team since the regular season expanded to 12 games in 2006 to start the season so poorly and make a bowl game. North Carolina, which did not participate in the postseason last year due to bowl sanctions, is searching for just its second bowl win since 2001.

2. Cincinnati will end its season in Charlotte for the second straight season against an opponent from the state of North Carolina after defeating Duke 48-34 in last year’s contest. With newly hired Tommy Tuberville acting as a “watching head coach” (as he called it in a recent press conference), the Bearcats won despite the departure of coach Butch Jones and both of his coordinators after they accepted similar positions at Tennessee.

3. Despite a decided home-field advantage (Charlotte is located about 2 1/2 hours southwest of Chapel Hill), the Tar Heels are still in search of their first Belk Bowl victory. North Carolina – which is 2-0 all-time against Cincinnati – fell to Boston College in 2004, West Virginia in 2008 and Pittsburgh in 2009 – the last two losses coming by a combined three points.

TV: 3:20 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: North Carolina -3

ABOUT CINCINNATI (9-3, 6-2 AAC): The Bearcats – winners of six of seven – are striving for their sixth 10-win season in the last seven years after coming up short in an overtime loss to conference champion Louisville. Brendon Kay directs the country’s 15th-ranked passing attack while Cincinnati is one of five teams in the FBS holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing per game. While Cincinnati has typically been proficient offensively, it hasn’t always been efficient, committing at least two turnovers in four straight contests and eight times overall this season.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (6-6, 4-4 ACC): Marquise Williams filled in admirably once starting quarterback Bryn Renner was lost for the season in early November, accounting for 1,279 total yards and 13 total touchdowns while leading the Tar Heels to a 3-1 finish. Eric Ebron (55 catches, 895 yards), who has already announced he will enter May’s NFL Draft, is widely considered to be the best tight end in the country. Freshman Ryan Switzer tied the ACC single-season record with four punt return touchdowns in only three games.

PREDICTION: North Carolina 27, Cincinnati 24

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Cincinnati 9-3 L1 33.3 19.5 5-1 4-2 0-1 0-0 6-2
North Carolina 6-6 L1 32.2 25.1 4-3 2-3 6-6 0-0 4-4
Last Meeting
Cincinnati North Carolina
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/14/91 CIN 16 UNC 51 0 0 0 0 0 0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cincinnati N/A
North Carolina N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati N/A
North Carolina N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati N/A
North Carolina N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Cincinnati N/A
North Carolina N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Cincinnati B. Kay 68.5 3103 22 11
North Carolina B. Renner 65.8 1765 10 5
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati H. Williams 105 609 5.8 4
North Carolina M. Williams 102 490 4.8 6
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Cincinnati A. McClung 68 908 13.4 5
North Carolina E. Ebron 55 895 16.3 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Cincinnati C. Moore 9
North Carolina Q. Davis 10
Quickchart Matchup
Cincinnati Off vs  North Carolina Def
482.3 yards
407.6 yards
4.2 yards/rush
4.1 yards/rush
8.7 yards/attempt
6.9 yards/attempt
North Carolina Off vs  Cincinnati Def
432.4 yards
313.2 yards
4 yards/rush
3.1 yards/rush
8.2 yards/attempt
6.4 yards/attempt